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China welcomes Taiwan leader's peace plan
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Oct 26, 2011

China on Wednesday welcomed a proposal by Taiwan's president for a peace treaty, but dismissed calls by the island's opposition for a referendum on political talks as a "stunt".

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou last week suggested the island should consider signing a peace treaty with China in the coming decade to put a formal end to a civil war that finished in 1949.

A peace treaty is considered one of the thorniest issues in the complex relations between China and Taiwan. Beijing claims sovereignty over the island and has never ruled out the use of force to bring about unification.

Yang Yi, spokesman for China's Taiwan Affairs Office, said a peace treaty was in the interest of "the Chinese nation", which refers to people living in both the mainland and Taiwan.

"It is a shared wish of compatriots on both sides of the Strait and a position we have upheld for many years," he said at a news conference.

"I hope both sides of the Strait will strengthen communications on this and build on mutual trust to gradually create conditions (for such a treaty)," he said.

Taiwan's pro-independence opposition camp has reacted furiously to the peace treaty proposal, accusing Ma of leading Taiwan down the road to reunification with the mainland.

Ma has repeatedly sought to reassure voters in recent days, emphasising it would only be signed if it were approved in a referendum.

However, when the opposition Democratic Progressive Party submitted a proposal to subject any political talks with China to a referendum, Ma's ruling Nationalists prevented it from being added to the parliamentary agenda.

Yang denounced the opposition camp's push as an attempt to gain political capital.

"Political consultations are something natural for the future when conditions are created. No political force ought to be allowed to use this as an opportunity to create a political stunt," he said.

Ma's first term has been focused on economic exchanges with China, based on the philosophy that trade and investment are less contentious issues than political talks.

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Taiwan warns China tourists over vote interference
Taipei (AFP) Oct 26, 2011 - Taiwan warned Chinese tourists Wednesday they risk being deported if they get involved in upcoming presidential elections, saying even waving a campaign banner would constitute undue interference.

Interior Minister Jiang Yi-huah's remarks in parliament highlight the island's concerns about coming under China's influence as it opens up to the mainland, allowing growing numbers of visitors to enter.

"Existing laws and regulations can be used to restrain Chinese visitors from interfering in Taiwan's elections, and in serious cases they can be deported at once," Jiang said while answering questions from legislators.

"Chinese visitors to Taiwan are very clear about what they can and cannot do, and they're not allowed to hand out campaign flyers or waving candidates' banners."

Taiwan rules itself, but China claims sovereignty over the island and says unification is just a question of time.

Taiwan's voters are scheduled to go to the polls to elect their president on January 14, with some opinion surveys showing a neck-and-neck race between incumbent Ma Ying-jeou and opposition leader Tsai Ing-wen.

Ma is advocating closer links with China, making him Beijing's favourite, while Tsai from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party is more reluctant to embrace the giant mainland.

Travel between Taiwan and China, which split in 1949 after a civil war, has boomed since Ma's Beijing-friendly government took power in 2008, pledging to boost trade links and tourism.

Last year, more than 1.63 million Chinese visited Taiwan -- most of them on organised group tours -- a rise of 67 percent from a year before, making China the biggest source of visitors to the island, according to Taipei.


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Taiwan president's China peace plan triggers fury
Taipei (AFP) Oct 23, 2011
A call by Taiwan's president for a peace treaty with China, made as he campaigns for re-election, has drawn a stormy response and may fail to either win votes or curry favour with Beijing, analysts say. President Ma Ying-jeou, who is seeking a second term in January polls, created shockwaves when he said a week ago that the island should consider a treaty to formally end a civil war that in ... read more

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